EDENS, LLC, which owns the South Bay Center in Dorchester, has proposed 475 apartments, a 130 room hotel, 113,000 square feet of retail space and a movie theater next to their current property, to be called the South Bay Town Center. The site is on six parcels of land totaling a little less than 10 acres between Enterprise, West Howell and Boston Streets, plus the buildings of the current shopping plaza. The developer also wants to build two parking garages and enough surface parking for 1,066 cars. Sixty-one of the residential units will be set aside as affordable.
According to filings with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, there is a concrete plant, surface parking and industrial and commercial buildings on the site, some of which are in use and some of which are vacant. The developer will be designing new streets for the interior of the site and also plans to improve pedestrian connections to Newmarket and Andrew Stations.
Despite the 1066 parking spaces, the developer touts the project as transit-oriented. It really isn’t, though. There are a few bus routes on Boston Street and Massachusetts Avenue, but that many parking spaces encourage just driving. In addition, despite proximity to Newmarket and Andrew, service on the Fairmount Line (served by Newmarket) continues to be infrequent and getting to Andrew involves walking over the Southeast Expressway, which is not very pleasant.
The development documents read mostly like a sales pitch rather than a project description, too:
The Project Team aspires to introduce an exciting urban context influenced by the rich character and heritage of Dorchester- a destination that is new and vibrant, yet an extension of the fabric surrounding it; a place with authenticity and local essence, where residents and visitors alike comingle in a comfortable and energized atmosphere. The Proponent’s efforts to thoughtfully merchandise through the selection and location of retail tenants, artisans, and dining concepts, to program both interior and exterior spaces, to artfully integrate materiality and landscaping, and to conceive events engaging the community, promise to create a lively public environment.
In terms of architecture and urban design, the project is similar to Somerville’s Assembly Square development, right down to the movie theater and close proximity to a big box shopping center, train station and Interstate 93.
A map of the proposed South Bay Town Center development. North is to the right.
Assembly Square from Google Maps.
The Newmarket area is a little controversial. It’s home to industrial concerns, especially food wholesalers and processors who own their own premises and are mostly part of the Widett Circle group. That hasn’t stopped a variety of people, including Mayor Martin Walsh, former city councilor Mike Ross and now the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority from declaring it the next neighborhood to be redeveloped — the T wants it for a layover yard, so it would be de-developed.
Widett Circle was to be the location of the Boston Olympics’ temporary stadium, or maybe a permanent home for the New England Revolution.
Everyone is coming around to paint the area’s future except for the people who actually own it.